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A Simple Way to Get Student Feedback Regularly

Longtime readers of ProfHackers might remember that I’m a fan of the simple solution: from putting labels on your stuff to carabiners for my keys to rubber bands around my dry erase markers to a multitool on my keyring to velcro ties around everything to a holster for my smartphone. I’m always looking for simple, relatively inexpensive solutions to everyday problems.

Recently, I’ve started doing something new in the classroom. It’s a simple little thing that I do every single time my class meets: all of the students in my class have index cards, and I ask them to spend the last couple of minutes of class to write down any questions or feedback they might have for me, anonymously. Not everyone is required to give me a card, but they’re all encouraged to do so. After class, I review the questions and comments, and then I post them along with my response on our course website.

Now, it’s only about 6 weeks into the semester, so I can only report limited results. Having said that, these cards have been a good method for students to express concerns or share the questions that they might otherwise feel too self-conscious to express out loud. (However, I can imagine this method going off the rails in a course where things aren’t going well or where the instructor is not a middle-aged white male, so I’m only recommending this idea with caution…)

How about you? What simple solutions to everyday problems do you use? Please share in the comments.

[CC-licensed Flickr photo by Abdulla Al Muhairi]

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